Let me preface this by saying that today has been a long, long, long day. I’m not normally given to pity parties, fits of depression or mindless rants but it’s been a 3 day weekend filled with brush fires all around, an over anxious kindergartener, a toddler that makes me look like a benevolent ruler instead of the tyrant many think me and a husband with food poisoning.
It’s been an interesting few days to say the least. I’ve had the chance to have some wonderful adult conversations (crazy how 5 minutes conversing with an adult about something non child related can make me remember that I’m smarter than I generally think on a daily basis), had tiramisu ice cream (way to go Blue Bell!) and had absolutely no chance to sit down and prepare for the upcoming week. I’m a planner by nature so this willy nilly roundabout I’ve been on since we started school has driven me nuts.
To me the absolute key to telecommuting success is planning and organization. Now I know that sounds like a no brainer but think about how many times you get up, walk into the office, pop open the computer and respond to whatever email sounds the most urgent. Five hours later the to do list you made three days ago hasn’t been touched. We’re a reactionary society and it’s a pitfall that telecommuters espeically have to be careful to avoid.
When I first started working from home I was worried that my boss was going to sit in front of his computer around the clock waiting on my IM status to go to “away” and then message me something to try and see if I was really working or had flipped on Oprah. Five years later and I still feel the need to prove myself worthy of working from home. I used to send emails first thing in the morning so people would know I was on the clock and I would rarely take a real lunch break. But the funny thing is to my company at least, results matter far more than the exact minutes I’m in front of the computer. I’ve gotten creative with my time as my kids came. I still work 8 to 10 hours a day but it’s rarely from 8 to 5. That is the real beauty of telecommuting. I work from 5 to 7am in a quiet house knocking out any tasks that I need peace and quiet to think through. Then I take a break, have breakfast with my kids, load them up and take my oldest to school. On the way back I visit with family, make work calls or just catch up on my podcasts. I’m usually back in the office around 8:15 and can spend an hour catching up on email. When my daughter goes down for a nap mid morning I’m back to phone calls and any other activities that need a quiet house. I take a quick lunch and then power through the afternoon until 3 or 4 when I do the carpool lane to pick my kid up from school. I rarely have anything major left to finish at that point but if I do, I do it after 8pm when the kids are in bed.
It makes for a long day but when the house is quiet, when I have that great cup of coffee and can actually catch my breath and some perspective I realize that in a society where two incomes are usually needed, this is a great solution. I have my cake and am eating it too (maybe on the run, but still…).
When I get asked how to balance it all, how it all works, and if it’s really possible to work at home with kids I just smile and say Yes! If you’re willing to plan, organize and make it a priority it’s absolutely possible and 100% worth every frustrating moment, every early morning.
Now I need to wrap this up because the crockpot is this Tyrant’s best friend for busy weeks and since soccer season just started I need to go prep tomorrow’s dinner and have it ready to roll!